by Maureen McCaffery Coleman, Community Manager, TenMarks:
With Math I Can (WMIC) is a movement to transform the way students approach math. WMIC challenges students to commit to practicing a growth mindset with math by celebrating mistakes as opportunities to learn, being confident in their skills, sharing their way of thinking, and persevering through difficult practice. Educators at the district level around the country are guiding students to take the pledge by watching the WMIC video and discussing the research that supports growth mindset. Here are some of the different ways districts are taking the pledge as a community.
Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), California
SCUSD was looking for a way to inspire math students to kick off the 2016 to 2017 school year. Review of the most recent data from The Nation’s Report Card showed district leaders that only 44% of low-income students nationwide achieved a basic understanding of math while 71% of average-income students achieved the same level. Administrators at SCUSD believed that a negative attitude could be to blame and that, by bringing WMIC to their district, they could make lasting change in their students. With the start of the school year, SCUSD put out a call to action to all staff, students, and families to take the WMIC pledge to change students’ mindsets about math. They created t-shirts for the staff who have daily contact with students, listing the way that math impacted their role to make the school a successful place for students to learn. For example, the nutrition staff wore shirts that read “With Math I Can…make sure every student has enough to eat”; the custodial staff wore “With Math I Can…schedule my time to make sure the school is clean”; and office managers wore “With Math I Can…make sure all classrooms have supplies." Staff are encouraged to wear these shirts to build awareness for the campaign. The district also partnered with the city buses to display an ad encouraging teachers and students to visit the WMIC site to take the pledge.
“We are excited to be a part of a new campaign to change the way students and our community think about who can -- and who can’t -- learn math,” shares SCUSD Superintendent, Jose L. Banda. “Our goal is to ensure that every student at every school truly believes that math is something anyone can master with patience, practice, and a willingness to work through mistakes.”
Berkeley County Schools, West Virginia
Math coordinator Anne Laskey, of Berkeley County Schools, reports that, too often, students identify themselves as being good or bad at math. “Students in our district really lack confidence when it comes to math. We were looking for a program to support our students’ mindsets toward math and to inspire them to dig in deeper in the face of challenges,” says Anne. When Anne and other teachers in the district found WMIC, they decided to bring WMIC to all students across 31 schools in Berkeley County. To kick off WMIC, Anne started by sharing WMIC with the teachers, encouraging them to teach students about growth mindset by leveraging the lesson plans and videos on the With Math I Can site. They also designed posters and stickers to build awareness and encourage students to take the pledge. Then, Anne worked to share WMIC with families and local business partners to include the community. Finally, Anne worked with her district public relations team to publish a number of articles in the local newspapers. Anne shares that Berkeley County “wanted WMIC to be a county-wide initiative not only for teachers and students but also for the greater community.”
Edison Township School District, New Jersey
At Edison Township, teachers received Professional Development around growth mindset months before the launch of WMIC. “With our shift to a standards-based math curriculum, it was important that our students understood the importance of growth mindset and that, by embracing mistakes, students would be on the right track to master math,” shares assistant superintendent Tara Beams. With the launch of WMIC, Tara and her team shared the WMIC site with school leaders. Regarding WMIC, Tara says “the program fit nicely with what we were already doing. It was a great way to refocus our students with the start of the new year.” From here, school leaders shared WMIC with teachers at each site. Teachers were then given the opportunity to plan how they would introduce the program in their classrooms. Teachers created posters to remind students about the pledge. Many teachers encouraged students to frequently share their favorite mistake to make growth mindset a part of their daily routine. “The introduction of growth mindset and WMIC has led to a transformation in the way our students think about math in our district,” shares Douglas Stokes, Math Interventionist at Edison Township. “By creating a district-wide culture that practices growth mindset, our students feel safe and supported during times when they struggle. They have learned to embrace these opportunities as changes to learn and grow.”
How will your district roll out WMIC? Visit WithMathICan.org for resources to help schools, districts, and families get started with WMIC today.
Maureen McCaffery Coleman is a member of the TenMarks marketing team. Maureen taught early elementary students in the greater San Francisco Bay Area for three years. Before her time in the classroom, she worked for a number of years in marketing, business development, and finance at education-focused organizations. Maureen is passionate about supporting teachers to ensure that all students have access to the right resources and tools to reach their full potential.